More than a dozen Savannah bands have expressed interest in a hastily-assembled July 11 concert at Dollhouse Productions.
Cusses, Crazy Bag Lady, Bear Fight, Broken Glow and others will possibly perform in a donation-only concert with just one mission: To show the world that Savannah musicians, fans and clubowners are good people.
Any profits will be given to charity, says Dollhouse co-owner Blake Mavrogeorgis.
Here’s what brought it on: When a local promoter walked out of his show Saturday night without paying any of the bands, or the venue, Savannah’s music scene very nearly caught fire and burned to the ground.
That’s how it seemed, anyway, as musicians and fans took to social media to voice their outrage at Floyd Lionel, who does business as Savannah Metal Punx.
The all-day show at Dollhouse featured a cross-section of touring and local heavy bands – the headliners were Eyehategod, a Southern punk/blues band from New Orleans, and the Ohio-based hardcore band Ringworm.
From all reports, it was not particularly well-attended. Lionel reportedly left the premises before Eyehategod, the show closer, took the stage. The band members, by that time, knew their money was not forthcoming; they played a two-hour set anyway.
By early Sunday, the Savannah Metal Punx Facebook page was overrun with angry messages, threats and insults, and outright calls for Lionel’s head on a platter. His reputation, and alleged past misdeeds, were discussed in less than polite terms.
The July 11 concert idea was an attempt to turn a potential mountain back into a molehill, says Mavrogeorgis. “From an outsider’s perspective, this is not looking good for Savannah,” she says. “And this is kind of our way of saying hey, we don’t all suck. We’re all in this together. There’s a lot of people that are (saying lots of negative stuff). I’m ignoring that. I just want to try to put a positive spin on that.”
Monday morning, Lionel himself posted on the Savannah Metal Punx Facebook page: "First, apologies all around for Saturday not making excuses but I suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) what you witnessed Saturday night was a person having a full blown mental breakdown due to a lot of undue stress from what was already a very long and stressful day. My departure was not based upon any attempt to avoid responsibilities or as some corners have said 'run off with band money.' But to prevent a situation that could have quite easily deteriorated into a far worse harmful situation for myself and others around me. Again apologies to all whom were directly adversely affected by my breakdown."
An even angrier barrage from Savannahians followed; for most of Monday, Lionel attempted to explain and defend himself, his illness and the reasons for his actions via Facebook; his detractors were having none of it.
Many of them were lamenting that the incident would, as Mavrogeorgis suspected, give Savannah a black eye, and cause outside promoters (and artists) to avoid potential hassles.
In an early afternoon e-mail to Connect Savannah, Lionel said he was making reparations. “For the most part I have had a good working relationship with most of those bands, or someone they know,” he said. “So we're supportive of each other trying to work through this without the drama.”
As of mid-afternoon Monday, many of the bands – including Ringworm, the co-headliner – had announced via social media that the promoter had contacted and paid them.
“I feel bad for the guy that he has issues,” Mavrogeorgis says, “but of course, obviously, all we want to do is to fix it. That’s we, collectively. We want to do something positive."
Dollhouse, she says, is owed $3,000.
“Let’s say he does pay us, we want to do this show anyway, as an awareness and support thing. Everyone’s just kind of coming together and wanting to be supportive of each other.”